Working high in the rigging of Star of India.

Clinging to the end of Star of India's bowsprit.
Clinging to the end of Star of India’s bowsprit.

Dedicated members of San Diego’s Maritime Museum were hard at work yesterday, working in the Star of India’s rigging like busy spiders on a web.

The rigging of the historic three-masted bark is undergoing an overhaul, a project that is expected to take a full year. That’s according to the person selling tickets. The large yards of the foremast have already been removed and are lying on the sidewalk awaiting inspection and a new coat of paint. I was told the ship’s trees (platforms on the masts) are infested with termites. They’ll have to be repaired. To maintain the 150 year old Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, requires a lot of work!

People tangled in picturesque ship's rigging.
People tangled in picturesque ship’s rigging.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.

I got a quick photo of a San Diego Maritime Museum volunteer working on the yards on an early July morning!

Volunteer works on Star of India's yards.
Volunteer works on Star of India’s yards.

Here come several more pics taken in October. The top third of the foremast has been removed!

Top portion of foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
Top portion of Star of India foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers work high up on the historic Star of India.
Maritime Museum of San Diego workers high up on the foremast of the historic Star of India.
On the shrouds, in a tangle of ropes between masts.
On a shroud, in a tangle of ropes and cables between masts.

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World’s oldest active sailing ship ready to go!

ready to board the star of india for yearly sail

Today a 150 year old tall ship was spotted sailing in the wide Pacific Ocean off Point Loma, just beyond the historic lighthouse! Was it a ghost from the past?  How is it possible?

It’s possible because San Diego’s own Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, departed from the dock today for its yearly sail!

I thought about buying a ticket for the historic event, but unfortunately I’m feeling a bit under the weather. This morning I did manage to amble down to the Embarcadero to watch and take some photos of the colorful preparations that are required for the beautiful ship to get underway.

In the first pic, you can see Maritime Museum members and some passengers gathered, getting ready to board or lend a hand.

star of india gets ready to sail

The guy hanging from some ropes just finished decoupling electrical and other lines from the black wrought iron side of the docked ship.

climbing into the rigging of the star of india

Volunteers carefully climb up into the rigging to get everything ready for the sail!

volunteers work at end of yard arm

Some hardy folks were already up on the yard arms working at the rigging. Once the Star of India is pulled out of San Diego Bay, the sails are unfurled and the tall ship is completely free to run before the wind!

volunteer disengages ramp

After a bit of work, the ramp was finally disengaged from the ship and pulled backward onto the sidewalk.

volunteers prepare to release star of india rope

One by one the ropes holding the Star of India to the Embarcadero were cast off.

tugboat ready to pull star of india to sea

Here’s one of the two tugboats, ready to tow San Diego’s pride and joy out of the harbor. The classic figurehead of the Star will soon be facing the open sea!

star of india pulls away from the dock

Pulling away from the dock… A pair of museum volunteers look on wistfully…

star of india is tugged out of san diego harbor

The lady heads out into the bay’s deep channel… Aircraft hangars at Naval Air Station North Island can be seen on the left. Point Loma stretches in the background.

Definitely very cool!

Big crowd at San Diego’s 2013 Festival of Sail!

big crowd at festival of sail

Sunday afternoon brought a gigantic crowd to San Diego’s sunny waterfront. The 2013 Festival of Sail appears to be a resounding success! This photo was taken at the annual event’s busy entrance just south of the Star of India.

A huge mass of humanity also surged along the Embarcadero in the vicinity of the sand sculpture event on the cruise ship pier, and by the USS Midway and Seaport Village. Lines were long everywhere, and street vendors and performers were raking in the money!

One often hears that America’s Finest City is a top destination for tourists on Labor Day weekend…I certainly believe it!

UPDATE!

It’s almost a year later and the 2014 Festival of Sail is a couple days away! This year I’ll actually attend, brave the huge crowds and take a bunch of pics!

Banner is up a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!
Banner is up on Star of India a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!

Masts of tall ships docked on San Diego Bay.

festival of sail early morning 02

Here’s another pic taken in downtown San Diego this morning while I strolled along the Embarcadero. The intricate masts, yards and rigging projecting into the early morning sky belong to tall ships that will be participating in the 2013 Festival of Sail. I like how mysterious these ships can appear just after sunrise, as if they’re nautical ghosts visiting from the past! I wouldn’t have been surprised to glimpse Captain Ahab or The Ancient Mariner striding toward me along the bayside sidewalk!

UPDATE!

It’s a year later, and visiting tall ships have begun to arrive a couple days before the 2014 Festival of Sail. Here’s a pic I took early in the morning! This year I’ll make it a point to attend the big Labor Day weekend event and take loads of photos!

Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.
Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.

Early morning at San Diego Festival of Sail.

festival of sail early morning 01

This photograph was taken early this morning when I walked through downtown to catch the trolley for work. I strolled a short distance along the Embarcadero near the County Administration Building and was pleased to see many tall ships had already arrived to take part in the 2013 Festival of Sail this Labor Day weekend.

In addition to the San Diego Maritime Museum’s venerable Star of India, HMS Surprise and Californian, numerous high-masted sailing vessels will participate in the historic event. And simulated cannon battles will take place on San Diego Bay! Lots of excited people will be touring these beautiful ships!

Here’s a bonus pic from the following morning:

dark masts in a colorful sky
Masts of many tall ships in a colorful morning sky.

UPDATE!

It’s a year later! I checked out the 2014 Festival of Sail early Friday morning before the event began and took a few pics from behind the fence! Here they are! (I will be attending the event on Sunday, so look for many more detailed ship photos on the Cool San Diego Sights blog!)

HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.

The runner with the flag led a bunch of lustily singing Navy personnel on a run right next to the festival venue!

A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.
A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.